The American Institute of CPAs is asking the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to push back the tax filing and payment deadline for two months.
The AICPA sent a letter Thursday to officials at the Treasury and the IRS asking for an extension until June 15, pointing to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the existing backlog at the IRS on tax returns filed last year.
The pandemic has upended operations at the IRS, which forced the agency to close its facilities for months and come back to deal with a backlog of millions of pieces of mail that were unopened and had to be stored in trailers outside its offices. Last year, the IRS pushed back the tax deadline until July 15 as it dealt with those challenges, along with the Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 for individuals authorized under the CARES Act last March. Earlier this year, the IRS had to push back the opening of tax season by about three weeks in order to process the $600 stimulus payments authorities by last December’s COVID-19 relief package. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are working on passing the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, which includes $1,400 payments for individuals, before the March 14 expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits.
Democrats on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the National Association of Tax Professionals, have also called for extending the tax deadline once again (see story). Last month, the AICPA asked for more certainty about when the tax deadline will be, but now it’s asking for a delay until June 15. “In the current environment, it is simply not possible for many taxpayers and their tax advisers to meet their filing and payment obligations that are due on April 15,” wrote AICPA vice president of taxation Edward Karl.
In the letter, he acknowledged the difficulties that postponing the tax deadlines could create, but noted that COVID-19 and other circumstances require action to ensure millions of affected taxpayers have enough time to meet their tax obligations. “The effect of numerous legislative changes overloading tax busy season compels us to speak up now,” he said. “We understand that there are some challenges associated with extending the payment and filing deadlines. However, time is a critical factor. Taxpayers and tax professionals need this postponement, and they need to have certainty about the filing date now.”